Should You Take A Pre-Workout for Cardio Training? Boost Performance Before Exercise w/ The Best Option

You probably heard of these obscure things called pre-workout supplements before and brushed them off as only useful for bodybuilders and strength training...

people jump roping together

While it is true that most pre-workouts are targeted at building muscle, they can also play a big role in improving your cardio workouts as well.

If you know what to look for, that is ;)

This article will help you choose the best pre-workout supplement for cardio.

Here's why:

These products - especially our #1 choice, Transparent Labs Lean Pre-Workout Supplement - are hand-picked to help you have the energy and stamina to perform at your highest level in every training session.

Product Details
1. Transparent Labs Lean

Safest & Most Potent

  • Preferred By Experts
  • Comes in 4 Great Flavors
Check Price
2. 4 Gauge

Higher Dosed Ingredients

  • No Proprietary Blends
  • Boosts Mental Focus
Check Price
3. Performance Lab Sport

Boosts Performance

  • Muscle Priming
  • Comes in Plantcaps
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4. Legion Athletics Pulse

Scientifically Proven

  • Naturally Sweetened
  • Creatine Free
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5. SHEER N.O. Nitric Oxide Booster

Extra Strength Formula

  • Good For The Heart
  • Easy Swallow Capsules
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6. Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplements

More Pumps

  • Sugar Free
  • Comes in 9 Great Flavors
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7. Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter Fruit Punch

Promotes Oxygenation

  • Improves Mood
  • Protects Lean Muscle Mass
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8. Cardio Heart Health-L-Arginine Powder

Inexpensive But Hard To Dissolve

  • Regulates Cholesterol Level
  • Lowers Resting Heart Rate
Check Price

Now let's jump into the best options out there. We categorized each chosen product into who it is ideal for. That way you can choose the right product that fits your lifestyle, whether you are looking for the overall top choice or want the best value for your dollar.

The 8 Best Cardio Pre-Workout Supplements

1. Transparent Labs Lean

Transparent Labs Lean

Our Verdict: Best Overall

Transparent Labs Lean is an effective formula for fat loss. Made by a company in Utah, their name says it all... "Transparent". This company offers their certificate of analysis and composition right on their site.

Is it worth it? Let me tell you...

This is the best pre-workout that you'd be able to find in the market, so far. 

This product boasts of total transparency with their "no proprietary blend" pride.

It has a variety of ingredients; each of which carry the proper dose that makes it truly effective.

You may think it is expensive compared to other pre-workout products, but if you look deeper, almost every amount of ingredient in Lean is higher than most competitors. That actually makes me say it's well worth the price.

Dose and Effect:

With Lean, you can expect having better endurance, higher level of focus and power to endure a very physical workout. It is very well dosed, third party tested and does not have any artificial ingredients. It's a great pre-workout formula.

Check it out on their official website from the link below to see how the customers' testimonies and reviews prove it true... You have to get it to believe it, so... That red box below takes you directly to their site.

2. 4 Gauge Pre-Workout Formula

4Gauge Pre-Workout

Our Verdict: Lowest in Caloric Content

Made possible by Roar Ambition and sold exclusively through their website, 4 Gauge Pre-Workout impressively stands out starting from its quality look and feel down to its solid blend of ingredients. 

Look at what makes them awesome...

Although you can get it only in one unique flavor; the Fruit Blast, the dose of ingredients in every shell does make a BIG difference.

You can't overdo it with just 5 calories per serving, can you? Plus it's naturally sweetened, fruity and slightly sour - you can easily take it down.

What's more:

Having said that 4 Gauge has only 5 calories in every shell, it also contains a solid blend of natural ingredients that'd keep you pumped up prior to working out. It is very popular among all age groups, too.

*Get FREE Shipping in the US & UK with the link above.

3. Performance Lab SPORT

Performance Lab Sport Pre-Workout

Our Verdict: Best For Vegans

Performance... that's exactly what you want and get better at, to get to your goals. Performance Labs SPORT Pre-Workout will get your game going by helping to support your training even before you start. 

That said, this product or any other pre-workout doesn't work like magic. Good dietary habits and training regime will help you get the physique you want in addition to taking this pill.

I said it is Vegan... Note that this comes in capsule form, not powder, so you cannot weigh out the amount that you want. It comes in Plantcaps®; which is tapioca-based , not gelatin. And so, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike.

It's caffeine free! It's a great bonus for those of you who are sensitive to caffeine and even for those who want to be easy on caffeine intake. NO CAFFEINE! So, no crashes, no highs!

Lastly, because it's caffeine-free and stim-free, it's very likely that it's side effect-free, too. 

If you want a clean, vegan-friendly PWO supplement, this should be your choice. It's not on Amazon... You can only buy it direct from the manufacturer. That's why you have to click on that link below this line.

4. Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout Supplement

egion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout Supplement

Our Verdict: Best Value for Money

Legion Pulse is a truly "value for money" nitric oxide (NO2) based pre-workouts. The product has excellent results when used for cardio exercise. It has a fat-burning formula which is great for those who want to reduce their cholesterol level.

The profile of ingredients will enhance blood flow, hydration, energy output & energy levels, allowing you to finish your session stronger than ever.

It is creatine-free and contains an amazing blend of proteins that ensure you won't lose muscle strength.

This supplement makes you feel energized for long periods of time without the inevitable "crash" you might get from too much caffeine. It is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a great pre-workout for cardio with its natural ingredients.

Note: This product is one of the more expensive options around, but we feel the high-quality is worth the extra price.

5. SHEER N.O. Nitric Oxide Booster

SHEER N.O. Nitric Oxide Supplement - Premium Muscle Building Nitric Oxide Booster with L Arginine - Sheer Strength Labs - 120ct

Our Verdict: Best NO2 Booster

Sheer N.O. Nitric Oxide Booster is a great cardio supplement. Nitric oxide is a chemical that helps increase endurance and strength.

You can get quick and lasting results with the use of Sheer N.O. It contains a blend of healthy ingredients that are sure to help your muscles grow.

This is a very popular nitric oxide supplement used by athletes and bodybuilders. SHEER N.O. boosts muscle growth while benefiting your heart and immune system. It also helps your body produce more nitric oxide, giving you more energy to keep going during cardio.

The product promises that it is good for your heart. It contains no artificial sweeteners or flavoring, while making you feel stronger and more powerful instantly.

6. Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplements

C4 Original Pre Workout Powder Fruit Punch | Sugar Free Preworkout Energy Supplement for Men & Women | 150mg Caffeine + Beta Alanine + Creatine | 60 Servings

Our Verdict: Most Flavors

Cellucor C4 is available in a variety of great tasting flavors and is another solid option with tons of fans. It is well known for providing lasting energy and endurance due to its blend of powerful ingredients.

If you get tired of the same flavors day after day, this pre-workout supp will help keep you going with its wide variety of delicious flavors.

Creatine and Beta Alanine present in the Cellucor C4 help you perform very well when you are doing any cardiovascular exercise. This product also contains special fat burning component, which will help you lose calories during your cardio sessions.

Using Cellucor C4 helps you perform very well when doing cardio and is highly recommended by gym trainers everywhere. Do your muscles a favor, and give yourself a pre-exercise elixir that is full of all of the powerful ingredients your body needs to make every minute count during your workout!

7. Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter Fruit Punch

Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter Pre-workout Supplement with Beta-alanine, L-Carnitine, and Red Beet Extract, 6.35 oz. (180g), (30 Servings) Fruit Punch

Our Verdict: Best for HIIT

If you are looking for a pre-workout supplement for cardio that not only gives you an energy boost but is also good for your heart, then Cardio Igniter by Top Secret is the answer.

It contains natural ingredients that give you a great energy boost during your workout.

As the name suggests, it is specially designed to help improve your performance during cardio exercise. It gives you a great boost of energy while increasing your focus and helping you stay wired for a longer period of time.

For the health conscious out there, Igniter is an excellent choice.

8. Cardio Heart Health-L-Arginine Powder

Our Verdict: Best Sugar-Free

Cardio Heart Health contains l-arginine, which is an amino acid. L- Arginine is useful for the health of our heart and is a nitric oxide booster. This product energizes your workout and keeps you going longer.

The product is a solid choice for people who want a pre-workout supplement that helps regulate the cholesterol level. It is sugar free and suitable for health conscious individuals. It contains stimulants that are not harmful for your heart.

This product effectively provides you energy and the strength you require before doing cardio. You can take it every day and get great results every time.

What is Cardio Good For Anyway?

When we say “cardio,” we mean basically any physical activity that engages your cardiovascular system - aka your heart, arteries, veins, and other blood vessels - and increases your heart rate for a period of time.

Along with increased heart rate, there will be an increase in the amount of blood pumped from your heart, air taken in by the lungs, and elevated body temperature.


Cardio exercise ultimately improves the function and efficiency of your heart, lungs, and the overall health of your body. 

What Activity Classifies As Cardio?

Cardio is also commonly called aerobic activity and involves anything that raises your heart rate.

Common aerobic activities include running, cycling, sports, jump roping, swimming, parkour, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc.

These type of pursuits traditionally include movements that are repeated over and over again over the course of the training.

Can You Take A Pre-Workout Before Cardio?


Not only does it help in burning fat, but a well-chosen supplement also gives you energy and improves the performance of your body as well.

Personally, I think it is a great idea to use a pre-workout supplement before cardio workouts.

More on this in a bit...

How Long Before Cardio Should I Take A Pre-Workout?

The majority of pre-workouts should be taken 20-30 minutes before your workout (and not on an empty stomach) to maximize results. Your body needs a small amount of time to properly absorb the active ingredients and let the effects sink in. Keep track of how you react to a pre-workout to adjust the dosage and timing in the future.

woman doing exercise in the park

We'll get to this in a sec...

Is It Bad To Do Cardio On A Pre-Workout?

You certainly don’t want to become dependent on any special powder or drink in order to power through your elliptical or stair climber session.

However, when you have a case of “the Mondays” you will be 72% more motivated and energized after you whip up the right concoction.

So no, it is not bad to use a pre-workout for cardio.

You just need to be aware of your tendencies and avoid using it before every single session. 1-2 times a week is a good cadence to shoot for.

Does Taking A Pre-Workout Improve Cardio?

There's a ton of the best supplements to take prior to workout not only for energy boost or fat-burning, but pre-workout supplements can improve cardio output for many activities, but they may not enhance results for all cardio training or workout regimens.

Most supplements are specifically formulated for anaerobic activities such as strength training. However, certain pre-workouts will still work for cardio if you know what to look for.

There are several key ingredients that you want to be sure to include in your cardio pre-workout, and a handful of others you will want to avoid in order to maximize your results and aerobic output. 

There are also several workout accessories that are helpful for cardio exercises other than pre-workout supplements. As a classic example, a pair of compression sleeves can improve your blood circulation during workout. So you might as well get at least one set of the best compression sleeves to enhance the effects of your cardio routine.

More on this in a bit...

What Are The Benefits of Pre-Cardio Supplements?

There are two main advantages of taking a supplement before your next cardio session you should be aware of:

  • Energy
  • Focus

Energy & Motivation

The first and perhaps biggest benefit is the increased energy and motivation boost. Thanks primarily to good ‘ol caffeine (found in most pre-workouts) and a few other special ingredients you are almost guaranteed to be motivated to start moving your body and get your heart pumping.

Combine this extra energy with your favorite playlist and you can also experience...

Focus & Performance

The next benefit is increased focus and performance, which can be a byproduct of the increased energy. With higher energy levels, you are more inclined to really focus on the aerobic activity in front of you and put up your best performance.

You can even choose stimulant-free options containing components like Tyrosine and Beta-Alanine to still improve your performance.

So We Recommend:

To give your training that extra boost, we recommend you click here to try out the Transparent Labs Lean PWO to start consistently smashing your PR's.

Lean is our #1 choice due to its potency and quality ingredients. 


Cardio exercise is a great way to manage different health conditions. If you want better stamina and increased strength, I suggest implementing more cardio sessions throughout your week.

With so many supplements available these days it is important you choose the best product for YOU wisely. Get the low-down on all the best product available to enhance ANY workout right here:

Doing aerobic activity three times a week increases your overall stamina, burns calories and helps in managing different health conditions. Cardio ultimately improves the function and efficiency of your heart and lungs, and the overall health of your body.

Last Updated on November 7, 2020

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